More concerning the alleged “commission” to reinterpret ‘Humanae vitae’

Humanae-VitaeAndrea Gagliarducci has a thought provoking offering for his weekly Vatican Monday.

He raises the question of who will defend the legacy, the magisterium of Pope John Paul II.

He writes about the Left, liberal sex-obsessed agenda: Humanae vitae and those issues that devolve once sexual activity is separated from procreation and marriage.

Remember: HV was Paul VI.  But John Paul II was the stalwart defender of HV.  Through attacks on the HV the whole of the magisterium of John Paul II was targeted.

Of course, before anyone burbles that we can’t reduce the magisterium of John Paul solely to sexual issues, let’s stipulate that we can’t reduce the magisterium of John Paul solely to sexual issues.  No one would do that unless they were attempting a ridiculous ploy to derail the discussion.

Nevertheless, elements hostile to HV are coming into prominence during this pontificate of Pope Francis, those who are willing to use this pontificate for their own ends.

The other day I said (HERE) that the alleged (according to Marco Tosatti and Roberto de Mattei) commission set up by Pope Francis to reinterpret HV, is not really a commission nor is it set up by Pope Francis.  I believe, with respect, that Tosatti and de Mattei got it wrong.

As I said before, this isn’t an official group, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

Via Gaglarducci,

[Msgr. Gilfredo Marengo – member of the alleged commission and instructor at the JPII Institute] denied any “imaginary reconstruction” concerning a commission to reinterpret Humanae Vitae. “Certainly,” he said “I don’t think the theme of a reconciliation of Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia is part of the current agenda. I find it dangerous to invent responses to useless questions.” [Right now I don’t believe that, but… keep going…]

And also,

However, the group allegedly gathered around him is not a commission appointed by Pope Francis. It is mostly a study group, and it is likely they will come out with a paper on the issue. If this paper is published, it will have an impact. [As I said, it will be dangerous.]

According to Corrispondenza Romana, the study group involves Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri. Another member of the group is Professor Philippe Cheneaux, a well-known authority on the history of the modern Church. Msgr. Angelo Maffeis, President of the Paul VI Institute in Brescia, is also working with the group.

It would not be a commission, then, but a research group. The final aim of this research would be to give a new perspective on Humanae Vitae, 50 years after its promulgation. Pope Francis is apparently not the initiator of the project. He was informed of it, however, and he encouraged it, according to the principle that has always distinguished his pontificate.

So, let’s be clear.  Something is afoot, but it isn’t wearing the shoes people think it wears.

When I say that it isn’t a commission, but it is dangerous, take a look at this insight in Andrea’s piece:

In the end, papal addresses in “light” documents – not encyclicals, but apostolic exhortations – are exploited in order to generate a “habit of thought” that can then take root[“habit of thought”] in the same way that the rationale of discernment has always been followed, since a confessor is hardly unable to understand when the sin is a voluntary one and when it is not, or when a sinner has repented and when he has not.

The Pope’s words are then employed in other publications, and their authors seek the Pope’s backing. This happened, for example, with the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia published by some Argentinian bishops: the Pope’s document was given a very progressive interpretation, but the bishops took cover behind a letter from the Pope that approved their rationale.

This is how the propaganda machine works. It is a complex mechanism, as it involves people outside of the Catholic Church. But they are good allies. No one speaks about those words of Pope Francis that condemn ideological colonization and gender theory while they also commend the natural family. Instead, Pope Francis’s less controversial themes are emphasized, such as the war on poverty and human trafficking. Pope Francis never takes a sharp position. He has always maintained that he wants to evangelize via attraction, and controversies are really not attractive.

But the agenda goes beyond this limited goal, and targets St. John Paul II’s thought – 27 years of a pontificate that marked an era in the appointment of bishops and the establishment of a Catholic culture. The final aim seems to be the nullification of St. John Paul II’s thought.

Andrea goes on to describe how the Lateran University’s John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family will be enervated by fusing it together with the Lateran’s Institute “Redemptor Hominis” for “pastoral theology” (whatever that is).  As Andrea points out, “pastoral theology” is “a subject that has often been compartmentalized away from pastoral care, as if the latter needed no theological foundation.”

There is a huge war going on in the Church right now.  It has been going on for a long time, but it is heating up.  Those in the liberal ascendency are pitting “pastoral” against “intellectual” etc.  They instrumentalize less than clear statements of the Holy Father to further their agenda.

Another note to think about.  Remember that the bishops’ conference in Poland paid for the translation and the publication of The Five Cardinals Book™, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (now in 10 languages).  This most important book (which I am told sound priests are using in their marriage preparation work) was sent to all the members of the 1st Synod (“walking together”) on the Family.  When the organizers of the Synod learned what was in those postmarked envelopes they confiscated them (thus breaking postal laws).

Early on the Polish bishops sniffed out what was in the air: the nullification of the magisterium of their beloved John Paul II.  Notice that they took a strong stance regarding chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia and, having concluded that AL doesn’t change the Church’s teaching, will not give Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried.  But step across the border into Germany and you have quite a different situation.


This is an important book.

Don’t forget Edward Pentin’s  The Rigging of a Vatican Synod (aka The Smoking Gun Book™.) UK HERE. This is an e-book – not published in paper.  Don’t have a Kindle yet?  Get a Paperwhite HERE.  Kindle Fire HERE.  UK buy a Kindle HERE. You can also read online.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Boniface says:

    One thing a study group might report is the marvelous prescience of Blessed Paul VI on the consequences for our culture if the separation of marital intimacy from its God-given purpose continued apace… HV was (in Section 16, is it, in particular?) absolutely prophetic, as has been pointed out.

    I believe/predict this reporting on said “commission” is a tempest in a teapot that will come to nothing, and, as Fr. Z said, is not coming from the Holy Father.

  2. ejcmartin says:

    I feel that a lot of the “powers that be” that wish to change direction on JPII theology of the body should try to a lot more pastoral and listen to those who have suffered through what the world has to offer on the subject. Sit down and listen to someone who as a child suffered through divorce and subsequent feelings of abandonment that linger into adulthood. Sit down and listen to someone who was taught essentially that “if it feels good, do it,” only find themselves lost, confused, and wondering why they are not finding happiness. Sit down with someone who tries their best to be a good and faithful spouse only to find themselves left standing there as their spouse runs off with someone else and simply moves on with “no fault”. The generations that have embraced the the sexual revolution are anxious, depressed, and band-aided over with psychotic medications. Why can’t so many leaders in the Church seem to get that?

  3. Adaquano says:

    I’m with Boniface and Fr. here in that much of this smoke is not coming from the Holy Father, but revolutionaries wishing to undermine crisis. I see the Deceiver working through these men to destroy souls that are poorly catechized , but I also see him working to cause faithful Catholics to despair. I’ve seen lots of hyperbole coming from some circles regarding this issue that is causing doubt in many people.

    As Father says keep praying for our bishops and Pope Francis. Keep receiving the sacraments

  4. Joseph-Mary says:

    (Poland)will not give Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried. But step across the border into Germany and you have quite a different situation…
    And the faith is still alive in Poland and on fumes in Germany: go figure.
    Also, while we do not hear of official sanction from the pope on a reinterpretation of HV and on other things, he does not seem to mind that these committees and studies are going on…

  5. chantgirl says:

    After we were all consoled and reassured by many sources that AL would not open the door to Communion for adulterers, I think that even if this is not an official group commissioned by the Pope, we still need to react vigorously when doctrine is challenged. No matter the source (and the current regime in the Vatican does seem to like to have third parties float trial balloons), if there is a group looking to undermine doctrine, we need to go on the offense instead of waiting around and trying to get the horses back into the barn after the fact.

    I would rather faithful Catholics overreact and send a message that we not sit quietly while the teachings of Christ are undermined than wait for the worst to possibly happen. After AL, and after Francis’ own undermining of Humanae Vitae when he spoke about contraceptives in response to Zika (and the subsequent response of the CDF), after the high-jacking of JPII’s Pontifical Academy for Life, I don’t think we should wait around to just see what happens on this- especially with the anniversary of Humanae Vitae coming next year.

    I’m tired of seeing the good guys so unprepared for the assaults of the enemy, trying to put out forest fires after they have raged out-of-control instead of vigilantly putting out the small campfires that started them.

  6. ususantiquor says:

    A full reading of the piece at MondayVatican is not reassuring. According to Gagliarducci, Pope Francis may not have “constituted” the “study group” but he has “encouraged” it. This is, Gaglirducci points out, hoe the pope operates. But I find another comment he makes, far more frightening. He says:

    it is said that the Congregation for the Clergy has required the application of Amoris Laetitia and Evangelii Gaudium as a criterion for admitting and promoting candidates for the priesthood.

    Imagine if fealty to these two documents becomes a litmus test for applicants for seminary! It is sobering to think that “youth” and “vocation” are to be the focus of the next synod.

  7. Thomistica says:

    “Pope Francis is apparently not the initiator of the project. He was informed of it, however, and he encouraged it, according to the principle that has always distinguished his pontificate.”

    According to whom is it the case that the Pope was “apparently” not the initiator? This needs sourcing. And what does it mean for the Pope not to be the initiator? In the same way that a mob boss merely has to nod slightly in order to set in motion a whole chain of events while washing his hands of the consequences?

    In my view the whole question about whether this is or is not an official commission is entirely
    irrelevant and merely academic. For if the claim that the Pope “encouraged” this research group is true, or if he does not publicly distance himself from this group, he is implicated in its harmful impact, however directly or indirectly as the facts determine.

    Already, in fact. Laity looking for a rationalization for their assorted contraceptive activities (which includes use of abortifacients) will see headlines in the secular press about all this, without demur from the Pope, and immediately find what they’re looking for.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “But the agenda goes beyond this limited goal, and targets St. John Paul II’s thought – 27 years of a pontificate that marked an era in the appointment of bishops and the establishment of a Catholic culture. The final aim seems to be the nullification of St. John Paul II’s thought”.

    That really burns my biscuits.

    Sancte Ioannes Paule Magne, ora pro nobis! Ora pro Ecclesia!

  9. hwriggles4 says:

    Good comments, particularly on those who are children of the sexual revolution. As a child in the mid to late 1970s, the floodgates of divorce were prevalent among classmates and friends during that time.

    Here’s a concern: has anyone had Catholic friends, siblings, or children who married in the Church over the last 20 years? Many Catholic friends (and my brother who married about 4 years ago) told me when they attended Engaged Encounter Weekend the majority of the couples were “playing house”, so quite a bit of time was spent on the need to live apart before getting married.

    There are also those in the Church who think natural family planning is the old fashioned “rhythm method” that most married couples (Catholic and Protestant alike) used from 1920 until about 1970. While I do applaud the dioceses and archdioceses (as well as good priests) who require NFP classes for marriage prep, there are places where it is never mentioned.

    I was a witness in an annulment case, and I have heard those say when reviewing the documents (both men and women) say, “I wish my ex and I would have discussed these things before we got married.” The annulment process is not a punishment, many who have gone through it say it was very helpful in healing.

  10. philosophicallyfrank says:

    Perhaps, I’m simplistic; but, Jesus said that even the “Gates of Hell” would not prevail. So, in His own way, He will deal with this situation and perhaps, it is a test to see how “WE” deal with it???

Comments are closed.